my_b7_fic: Avon karate chopping (Default)
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Vila put his hands over his ears. Exasperated, Avon lunged past Vila to snatch up the dust-covered blue egg-shaped device before Cally could reach it. She was already behaving oddly, 'hearing' and 'seeing' things, and firing blindly, which was entirely out of character for her. He didn't want her interacting with anything else from the ship.

He appeared in the teleport room alone. He dropped the 'egg' unceremoniously on the teleport console and leaned past Dayna to work the controls.

Tarrant asked, "Did they take off the bracelets?"

"Of course not, "Avon snapped as he futilely flipped levers.

Dayna was wide-eyed and frantic. "What did I do wrong?"

"Nothing." Avon snatched up another pair of bracelets, then put an extra one on his own arm. "Going in, there was a problem. Put me back."

Zen reported, "Energy increase aboard alien ship computed as reaching critical point in thirty seconds. Teleport shutdown may be implemented."

"You can't go back," Dayna said.

"No, " Tarrant agreed reluctantly.

Avon ignored both of them as he went to stand on the teleport platform. "Give me five seconds, then try to bring us up."

"Avon! No!" Tarrant said.

"I've no time to argue." Avon aimed his gun at Tarrant. "Do it, Dayna."

Nervously, Dayna obeyed. "Fifteen seconds."

Avon appeared and tossed a bracelet to Cally, putting the other one on Vila himself. On his knees, clutching at his head, Vila grabbed Avon's hand and seemed not to notice. Cally looked at Avon oddly, but put on the bracelet. The teleport took them a few seconds before the ship exploded.

They appeared in the teleport room, shaken but unharmed. Zen reported no damage, and that the teleport was functioning normally.

"What happened?" Dayna asked.

Avon said, "The energy build-up must have damaged the bracelets. Fortunately, mine wasn't affected."

"That doesn't make sense," Tarrant protested.

"Who cares, it worked," Vila said. He looked at his hand, still clasped in Avon's. "I never realized you felt that way about me."

Avon made an exasperated noise, dropped Vila's hand and picked up the 'egg'. "Well, let's see if this was worth all the trouble."

Cally looked at Avon and started to speak, but he had already left the room. She slammed her teleport bracelet into the rack and stalked off.

Vila got up off his knees. "Cally's mad at Avon, who's being annoying, and I've nearly got killed for a bit of rubbish that Avon appropriated anyway... typical day. Think I'll go have a drink. Join me, Dayna?"

Dayna sniffed. "Make it a vitamin solution."

"You're no fun," Vila replied as he left the room.

Tarrant looked at Dayna. "I don't know what's going on, but I don't like it."

Dayna shrugged. "Like Vila said, 'typical day'.

--

Avon sat at the flight-deck couch and poked at the blue egg-thing. He tossed down his laser-probe.

"No luck?" Tarrant asked.

"Not appreciably. So far as Orac and I can tell it is intact, and its power supply is undiminished, but neither of us can hazard a guess as to its function."

"What about the buttons?" Dayna asked. She was a firm believer in direct action.

Avon prodded each of the buttons in turn. "Nothing." He gazed at it. "Perhaps they are merely decorative. There were no external controls on the ship, either." Abruptly he rose and picked up the egg. "Possibly a non-physical line of inquiry would prove fruitful." He left the flight deck.
--

"Cally?" Avon paused outside her door. It opened and Cally looked out at Avon. "I've come to ask if..."

"What, Avon?" Cally was dressed in a flowing green gown that had transparent patches shifting as she moved. It was very distracting. "Ask me what?" She lifted her arms and put them around Avon's neck, pulling him into the room.

Avon tried to back up, but he was hampered both by the egg and his unwillingness to hurt Cally. "What's wrong with you?"

"I don't know." Abruptly Cally pulled away and sat on her bed, looking at Avon with huge, worried eyes. She hugged herself. "I'm so cold."

"I'll turn up the environmental controls." Avon set the egg down on her desk.

"NO! Avon, please, just hold me! Just for a moment." Cally held out her arms. "Please! I'm so alone."

Avon hesitated. Then he said softly, "Auron?"

She nodded. "Please. Just hold me for a moment, Avon."

Avon went to her and sat on the edge of the bed, putting his arms around her awkwardly. He said softly, "It will become easier with time."

"Yes, it will, Avon," Cally sounded strange, almost gloating. She slipped a ring off her hand and onto Avon's right little finger. He fell back, wide-eyed and gasping. Cally collapsed back on the bed, unconscious. Avon stood up, staggered towards the door, and collapsed with his hand reaching for the comm button just as the blue 'egg' exploded.

--

On the flight deck, Zen suddenly announced, "There is a build up of energy in one of the cabins."

Tarrant looked up from the controls. "Which cabin?"

"The one assigned to Cally of Auron."

"I think Avon took that thing to Cally," Vila said. "At least he was heading that way."

"Wonderful. Avon's experiments will be the death of us yet," Tarrant said, heading for the flight deck table to reach for Orac's key. "Orac, can you tell me what Avon is doing with that alien artifact? Is it dangerous?"

"The only deduction I have been able to make concerning it is that its purpose is unreasonable and inimical."

Dayna asked, "What is its purpose, then?"

"I am not willing to specula..." Orac interrupted itself. "It is... it is trying to... control.... noo....." Orac abruptly went silent, and dark.

"Well, that's done it," Vila said, "You've broken Orac. Avon will be furious."

Zen said, "Inboard... inboard sensors... indicate there is an intruder aboard." Zen sounded drunk. "Computers ... sustained electrical disturbance... energy loss from all systems... all..." Zen went silent and his lights went dim.

"Now you've broken Zen!" Vila said.

"Whatever Avon's playing at has got to stop." Tarrant stood up. "Come on, Dayna, let's have a word with him."

"You don't need me, do you?" Vila asked.

"I doubt it." Tarrant charged out of the room, with Dayna on his heels.

--

A quiet voice spoke in Cally's room, in Cally's mind. "Cally? Cally, listen to me. You have done well, and you will be rewarded. I almost chose you. We could have been together forever, but I saw that we would have to kill your Avon. You wouldn't want that even though he is so cold, so distant... but that will all be changed, my love. I have him now and I will share him with you. Think of it, Cally, never alone again. I know what you want, what you need, and I will give it to you."

Cally woke up, got out of bed and looked down at Avon, still lying crumpled on the floor. "You will destroy him." She sounded uncertain.

"He would destroy himself. I will save him. I will preserve what you love of him."

"He will hate me." Cally sounded tempted.

"Not once he understands what you've done for him. He wants safety and wealth. I can give him that. You want justice and freedom. I can give you that. My powers allied to Avon's knowledge can bring down the Federation. You would have died for that gladly. I offer you everything and all I ask is to be allowed to live. Is that so much?"

"And to be obeyed. Avon won't..."

"He will. He fought against Blake's rule, but in the end, he obeyed because he knew he wasn't a leader. He won't follow Tarrant, because Tarrant isn't strong enough, but he will follow me. I will give you all everything you wish."

"You will defeat the Federation?" Cally knelt by Avon and arranged his body into a more comfortable position.

"I cannot lie in your mind, Cally. You know I will."

Cally nodded.

Tarrant burst into the room, gun drawn, and Dayna following him. Cally looked up. "There's no danger at the moment, Tarrant."

Tarrant wavered, then put his gun aside. "What happened to Avon?"

Cally pointed to the dissolving remnants of the blue egg. "He brought that to me, but before he could explain what he wanted me to do it...exploded. He was caught in the blast. I can't find any external injuries. It may be shock. "

"You look a little unsteady yourself," Dayna said.

Cally nodded. Tarrant bent down to pick up Avon. Dayna turned at a noise from the corridor. "No! It's impossible!" she shouted as a bright flash of light filled the room. When the light faded, there were four bodies lying on the deck.

--

On the flight deck, objects shifted and flew through the air while Vila ducked and covered his head. There was a pattering, tinkling noise as everything fell back into the places they'd originally occupied on couch and table. After a long moment of silence, Vila cautiously uncurled and looked around. "Didn't happen. Too much of a good thing. That's what it was. I'm swearing off vitamin solution." He sat down on the couch, but an instant later he jumped as a hand wearing a rather garish ring settled on his shoulder. He looked behind him, and saw nothing. He settled nervously back in the seat again, only to jump to his feet at the sight of Avon, standing in front of him, staring at him silently. Avon's hair glittered purple glints, his skin was metallic gold and he was wearing a flowing black and gold garment. "Avon! That's a new look for you isn't it? Overdid the insta-tan, though." Vila stepped forward. Avon lifted his hand. There was a flash of light and Vila fell down, unconscious.

Avon moved closer to Vila, and tilted his head to one side. His lips didn't move, but his voice, mingled with Cally's echoed through the flight deck, "You're right, Avon, I would prefer to keep him. He will make a good pet. You will enjoy playing with him. Yes, you will. Don't argue with me."

--

Back in Cally's cabin, Tarrant groaned and sat up. He massaged his scalp a moment, and then tried to rouse his companions. Avon was unresponsive, but Cally and Dayna woke. Dayna rubbed the back of her neck. "I saw Avon."

"Of course you did," Cally said, kneeling at Avon's side. "He's right here."

"No! I saw him in the corridor! It was him... but it wasn't him."

Tarrant frowned. "Zen's intruder must be some sort of shape-changer. Somehow it came from that ship in that blue egg and used Avon as a template."

"That ship had been floating in space for ages, Tarrant! Nothing could have survived that long!" Dayna protested.

"Something did." Tarrant grunted as he picked up Avon's limp body.

"There were energy fluctuations, perhaps that is what made the flash and electric discharge that rendered us unconscious," Cally said.

"I saw Avon! That was no energy fluctuation!" Dayna replied hotly.

Tarrant put Avon on the bed. "I don't care what it is, I just want to get rid of it, before it gets rid of us."

There was a familiar sounding groan from the comm unit. "That's Vila," Dayna said unnecessarily. "It's on the flight deck!"

"Wait a moment, Tarrant," Cally said, "think about this!"

"You think about it!" Tarrant drew his gun and ran, with Dayna following him.

Cally shook her head and smiled down at Avon.

--

Tarrant arrived on the flight deck and barely broke stride as he saw Vila, curled up and groaning. He fired at the alien Avon. It turned, obviously not inconvenienced in the slightest and smiled Avon's smile at him. It spoke, and the voice was an eerie mingling of male and female, Avon and Cally. "Oh, Tarrant, will you never learn? Brute force against a superior intelligence." He gestured and Tarrant fell to his knees, gasping in pain.

"What are you?" Tarrant managed to say.

"What do I look like? I'm Avon, of course."

"Avon is in Cally's room. I think he's dying."

Avon's lips twisted into a smile. "Only the fleshly pattern. That was never as important to Avon as his intellect." One glittering gold hand pressed the center of Avon's chest. "Once I've completely absorbed his life-force this body will go on, forever by human standards. Avon will live within me."

"With you controlling him? Avon would rather die!"

"No, he wouldn't." The alien was suddenly close to Tarrant without having moved. "Avon is a survivor. He recognizes what I can do for him. Why don't you?"

"Because I'm not trapped with you inside my head. If you're so powerful, why haven't you killed us all? You need us!"

"Don't flatter yourself. Avon understands this ship and what he doesn't know its computers do. I could control it with a bare flicker of thought. I don’t need you; I don't need any of you." The alien Avon gestured again, and Tarrant found himself arched on the floor with only his heels and head touching as waves of agony flowed through his body. As suddenly as it started, it ended.

"In my previous life, I was accustomed to being served by intelligent menials." Again came the Avon-smile. "Avon says you qualify... barely."

"Intelligent menials?"

"Come now. You served in the military. You are comfortable taking orders, being told what to do. How would this be so very different?"

"I took orders given by people I respected, not monsters."

"Would it be so very terrible to serve me? Avon could not fully appreciate your talents, but I would, Tarrant. Appreciate, and repay." Avon was abruptly standing in front of Tarrant, who was on his feet and bewildered as the smile softened to something almost genuine. "I would appreciate you."

Tarrant staggered back, confused and frightened. "No. I'm not...Avon's not..."

"You don't really know Avon, do you? This will be amusing."

Tarrant leaped to a console, and pressed the com button. "Dayna!"

Alien Avon's face twisted in annoyance. "You are beginning to try my patience." His hand moved again, and Tarrant dropped to his knees, white-faced and groaning.

Cally entered the flight deck, pushing Dayna in front of her. "There's no need for that," she said, gesturing at Tarrant.

"Tarrant requires discipline." Avon gazed at the gathered crew. Cally looked back at him calmly.

"You enjoyed that," she said.

"Probably." Alien Avon gestured with two fingers and Cally came to his side. He kissed her roughly. She responded eagerly and then stepped back, holding Avon's ring up between her fingers. "No, Cally!" Avon gasped and held out his hands in appeal. "I'll die without the ring."

Cally gazed into Avon's eyes. "Yes, I know you will. You need this desperately, don't you?"

Tarrant and Dayna looked at Cally hopefully. Vila was still unconscious.

"Cally, please! Give it back to me. You don't know how long I've waited in the dark, alone. Let me live." Avon's golden face was agonized and desperate. "Let me live!"

Cally tossed the ring into the air and caught it. She smiled. "Keep your hands off Tarrant." She threw the ring back to Avon, who caught it and put it back on with a sigh of relief.

"It's a deal." Alien Avon grinned at her. "This will be very amusing." He held out his hand and Cally returned to his embrace.

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December 2011

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